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RWC 2023 Qualifier Spotlight: Romania
We continue our countdown to Rugby World Cup 2023 with Romania the latest nation under the spotlight for their RWC story.
Romania return to the Rugby World Cup stage after finishing second in the Rugby Europe qualification table behind Georgia.
The Oaks, who had been tournament ever-presents until missing Japan 2019, won their first-ever Rugby World Cup game in May 1987 against Zimbabwe, 21-20, and have managed five more victories in seven tournament appearances since, most notably against Fiji in 1991.
Other victories have come against USA, Namibia, Portugal and Canada.
While Romania have never made it beyond the pool stages, on only two occasions have they left for home without a win to their name (1995 and 2011).
It's the biggest comeback in #RWC history! #ROM beat #CAN after trailing 15-0 in the second-half 👏👏 👏 #CANvROM pic.twitter.com/rUpYNyeE4J— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 6, 2015
RWC debut: 23 May, 1987 v Zimbabwe, at Eden Park in Auckland
RWC appearances: Played 28, Won 6, Drawn 0, Lost 22, Points for 365, Points against 1,068, Win percentage 21 per cent
Most RWC appearances: Ovidiu Tonita, Romeo Stefan Gontineac, 14
Most RWC tries: Marius Tincu, 3
Best finish: Pool stages
Qualification for RWC 2023: Europe 2
Most memorable match: Canada 15-17 Romania, Leicester City Stadium, RWC 2015
Romania pulled off the biggest comeback in Rugby World Cup history when they recovered from 15-0 down to score 17 unanswered points in the final 28 minutes.
Number eight Mihai Macovei went over for two late tries, both converted by Florin Vlaicu, whose late penalty won it for Romania.
Florin Vlaicu drilling the ball between the posts from 40 metres out in Leicester to secure victory against Canada in Leicester prompted an explosion of yellow in the crowd.
And once the final whistle sounded, Romanian players poured onto the pitch at full-time to celebrate a superb win.
Failing to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019, the first time the team had missed out on the game’s marquee event.
Iconic player: Romeo Stefan Gontineac
Gontineac played at centre in the 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 editions of the Rugby World Cup and almost masterminded a shock win against Scotland as head coach in 2011. He jointly holds Romania’s all-time record for appearances at the tournament with 14.
The official attendance of 89,297 for Romania’s game against Ireland at Wembley Stadium at Rugby World Cup 2015 surpassed the previous tournament record by 248. That had been the week before when New Zealand and Argentina at the same venue attracted a crowd of 89,019.
Did you know?
Romania were involved in the first-ever test to be played in Tasmania at Rugby World Cup 2003. The Oaks scored five tries in their final pool match there against Namibia, winning 37-7.
“I don’t think it was ever in doubt really, was it?” Romania head coach Lynn Howells told reporters with a smile after his team’s epic comeback against Canada.